According to Perkins, their trip to Gotemba was "part of the sister city program with Chambersburg and Gotemba, a partnership begun 50 years ago by a student from Gotemba who studied at Wilson." This year, there was a celebration in Gotemba for the 50-year-long relationship between the two cities.
From a Student's Point of View
Sarah McGuckin ‘13 says that she was ecstatic when Dean Perkins told her last spring that the school chose her to take the trip to Japan.
"It was about a 13-hour flight which was extremely tiring especially since it was the first plane I had ever been on," says McGuckin. However, the activities in Gotemba soon soothed the exhaustion of traveling.
"We attended the 50th anniversary celebration, drove up to Mt. Fuji, witnessed a traditional Japanese tea ceremony and walked in the parade for their summer festival," McGuckin recalls.
When asked what the most impressive thing about the trip was, McGuckin says, "To me, it was the fact that the people of Japan were so kind. Even random people off the streets were more then willing to help me if I didn't understand. The hospitality of the Japanese was just overwhelming."
"I was in shock! It was so surreal!" was the first reaction that Chrissy Shick '11 had when she knew Wilson chose her for the trip. Like McGuckin, Shick also says that, "everyone [in Gotemba] was so welcoming and accommodating to us. My host family lived in America for many years, and had their child there and then moved back to Japan. Their English was perfect and their daughter was lovely. I enjoyed spending time with them, and we still keep in contact."
A Memorable Experience
Both of the students expressed that the trip taught them to appreciate and embrace different cultures. "One of the most remarkable things I did was having a cultural experience where we got to dress up in kimonos and attend a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. It was amazing to see the different steps that are put into a simple task like making tea. Every little motion meant something, and I just wanted to know it all!" says Shick.